One of the complaints often seen about artisan soap is that it tends to not last as long as commercial soap. Due to the lack of shelf stable preservatives and synthetic detergents, yes, handmade soap does not have as long as a shelf life.
However, there are ways to preserve and care for your handmade soap to extend its life.
Soap savers, like sisal bags or mesh bags, can keep your soap in one place and can be hung up to dry so that your soap isn't sitting in a puddle of water. The soap bar may lose its shape over time, but the bags will protect and save your soap from melting completely. They also double as washrags, and can act as lather boosters or gentle exfoliators.
*Slotted or Vented Soap Dishes
Anything to get air flow underneath your soap is helpful in its preservation. Bamboo or wood are great choices, and while the vents do allow your soap to dry quicker, it can get a little messy.
These items aren't necessary to prolonging the life of your soap, but they do help. Air flow and keeping the soap in a dry, well ventilated spot will give you maximum usage out of your artisan soap.